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tv   [untitled]    March 18, 2013 9:30pm-10:00pm EDT

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now with your mobile device you can watch on t.v. anytime anywhere. please. hello and welcome to cross talk we're all things are considered i'm peter lavelle u.s. president barack obama is about to visit the state of israel the first time during his time in office the so-called peace process we're told is not on the agenda so the real purpose of the visit around syria with what i call the great in the arab
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muslim world what does obama hope to achieve beyond paying his respects. to cross a bomb has upcoming visit to israel i'm joined by norman finkelstein a new york political analyst and an author and in amman we have. co-editor of john the gentleman you can jump in anytime you want you know crosstalk rules maureen if i can go to you first i mean why is obama going to the middle east now what does he want to achieve. it doesn't appear that he's trying to achieve anything people who know us foreign policy much better than i have suggested that the purpose of the visit is simply to visit and to check that box and to be able to demonstrate that he's been to israel and to get out of the way at the beginning of his term and it doesn't and it certainly has as you yourself
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mentioned the so-called peace process is not on the agenda he's not bringing any new initiative with him i presume there will be lots of talk about about syria and iran but i think that from washington's perspective the fact that there may not yet be an israeli government and so or that it will have just recently been formed and there won't be that room to have any serious discussions about israeli palestinian relations is probably a positive thing from washington's perspective norman is a kind of farcical to go to israel not talk about the so-called peace process i mean it's farce. i'm not sure but i would call the fars there's actually no reason why president obama would want to talk about the so-called peace process the main purpose of the peace process is to serve as a distraction while israel gets on with the serious work of and that sing about ten
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percent of the west bank where right now israel and the united states don't need destruction because the power stinney and people have been pacified the so-called powers stinney in authority can do anything without the approval of the united states so there is no neither at this particular moment for any destructions so there is no need to revive the so-called peace process it's never been a peace process it's been an annexation process and right now there are no restraints no constraints no inhibitions israel's pursuit of its continued and acceleration of the occupied palestinian territories moving would you agree with that no distractions now. i agree with ninety five percent of that where where i might differ slightly is to say that i
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think. both the israelis and the americans would i think be well served by continued talks with the palestinians entirely meaningless as norman has just pointed out but nevertheless i think the americans could use and the israelis could use an even more to demonstrate to others that there is actually something happening particularly to their european partners the irony here is that in the past the palestinian leadership has generally been in favor of such talks precisely to to as as normal as put it. the situation on the ground that we've now rhesus situation where things on the ground are so dire that having renewed talks which again would be entirely meaningless and basically about nothing but the talks themselves forms more of a threat than an opportunity to the palestinian leadership and of mama norman is
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there any possibility for a settlement not the so-called peace process but a settlement still. there is a realistic possibility for a settlement and in fact moving them myself for right now in the midst of writing a book entitled how to solve these will power starting conflict you might say all the saw the speak objective factors are in place. public opinion has shifted significantly in the past couple of decades and now is highly critical of israel there's a broad consensus in the international community both in its most representative body namely the u.n. general assembly and the. most respected body the international court of justice and how to resolve the conflict there have been significant shifts in public opinion in the united states and there's also been significant shifts among
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american jewish opinion so you could say all of those factors are in place and that raises the obvious question why isn't there a resolution thank you normally do thank you for asking the question ok go ahead answer your question then. well the. first factor of course is that the united states has been blocking a settlement of the conflict both in the general assembly and also in the security council so you have there you'd have to say you have a very significant obstacle namely the united states government and the sun. significant obstacle or inhibiting factor is the fact that the powers to news themselves are not now on the move in a state of mind spirit to organize civil rights this is civil resistance which is the only thing that can possibly. force israel
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to withdraw or a combination of narcissist and sort of people in concert with support from the united nations support from the international community's support for public opinion which would isolate the united states and i think force news really withdrawal can only happen if it starts among the powers to the people it's basically the same situation as in south africa during the apartheid era it's true in the case of south africa there was huge international support of the apartheid movement there was a lot of action activity in the united nations but the main inhibiting factors were first of all the u.s. on the reagan and the u.k. under margaret thatcher but on the other hand you had a mass movement in south africa and ultimately the mass movement in south africa
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was able to overcome the inhibiting factors of reagan and thatcher on the one hand and obviously the apartheid regime on the other and the same thing is needed in power story there has to be a mass movement of civil resistance movement in concert with the united nations and international public opinion i think can inhibit the united states and force an israeli withdrawal. obama is going to visit the palestinians as well how is he going to be received. well if if you're asking about popular opinion i would and will and leadership is known that it's overwhelmingly. well i think unfortunately the leadership appears never to give up hope that the americans are somehow going to launch a new and meaningful diplomatic process between israel and the palestinians that's
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going to somehow result in a two state settlement but getting back to to what norman was saying earlier i think one advantage the n.t. apartheid movement had in south africa is that there wasn't a sham peace process to cover up the reality on the ground and i think and i think precisely the problem in palestine is that you have a diplomatic process a so-called peace process which is in fact. the most significant threat to israeli palestinian peace and to an end to the occupation so i think the key. priority at this point for the palestinians and particularly for the leadership should be to disengage from this meeting less bilateral diplomacy under us germany and to move instead as norman has suggested towards an internationalization of the question of palestine and to seek to solve it on the basis of that international consensus i
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think. you know from the point of view of the palestinian leadership they're not there yet i think palestinian public opinion on the other hand has been has been ready. for such an initiative for quite a few years now you know why did it take so long for obama to go to israel in your opinion. well before before i answer the question i would like to supplement something that no we said it's not just been there peace process it's been the show every front and then six trimly frustrating the degree to which this theater this political theater has poor use in the minds or confused the minds of normally intelligent people so you take not just the sharon peace process but you take the shah economy even him you look at what you might call in light in people they keep
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praising the economic reforms that have been instituted by prime minister fayyad but there is no economy in palestine i was just reading on the way to your studio this morning on the subway i was reading the latest world bank report on the palestinian economy and the report is written in such a fashion that you think you're talking about a real economy so they compare the so-called palestinians economy with other economies around the world but there is no econ. me in palestine they say for example that the economic structure of palestinian of the economy the structure of the palestinian economy has drastically deteriorated since one thousand nine hundred ninety four i'll keep in mind the year nineteen ninety four that's when the so-called peace process began the oslo accord was signed in september one thousand nine hundred ninety three so from the very beginning the very inception you might
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say the first day of the peace process until today the world bank says the manufacturing sector of the palestinian economy has drastically deteriorated the agricultural sector has drastically deteriorated so what has improved will they say the public sector has improved what is the public sector the public sector simply handouts from the international community and the public sector in this past year the biggest growth was in security that is to say the palestinian authority hired more torturers this year than any year in the past that's the palestinian economy normally not going to have to jump in here we're going to get it we're going to go to a short break we're going to go to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion now obama's
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future visit to israel stay with with talking . the british.
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market. was really happening to the global economy. the global financial headlines. the emission free cretaceous free. free. free. free. free. old free blog. a free.
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recently single. is a. welcome back to crossfire all things are considered i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're discussing obama's upcoming visit to israel. if i go back to you do you how do you see the palestinians coming together fatah
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and hamas this is a lot of people will always point to this but there is no unity correct and that is a key impediment for the palestinians i think fundamentally. along with other significant palestinian organizations need to come around around a joint national political program the strategic consensus among and on that basis formulate a coherent national strategy as well as the tactics that will be used to achieve the objectives of that strategy and they need to do so in a disciplined manner now that requires i think a different kind of leadership than that which the palestinians have today and how that leadership emerges is i think a different question i tend to be somewhat skeptical about the value of elections under the current circumstances but clearly there needs to be leadership renewal is
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as well now i think in this sense obama's visit could actually be positive obama's visit is coming on the more or less on the eve of the twentieth anniversary of the oslo agreements and the only meaningful thing he has said about israeli palestinian relations is that. he's coming to listen in other words to for decades approximately fifty years after this process was supposed to have been concluded he's coming to listen now my hope is that among palestinians that will shed any remaining illusions that may exist that this process could ever provide anything meaningful that they will be again to move seriously towards the kind of coherent national program and coherent strategy that i suggested is necessary no one what about the settlements can there be any kind of settlement with so many
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settlers in the west bank well you have to look at the so question quite closely i don't think you can speak about it in general these and i think there are errors being made both on the left and on the right side in this particular question on the right side namely the people who support mr obama and the republican party which are pretty much the same the same people they keep saying the settlements are the problem to resolving the conflict will just and their ex what they call the major settlement blocks the major settlement blocks consist of about nine nine and a half percent of the west bank they include some of the most horrible land they conclude the critical water resources and of the settlement blocks are annexed it would bisect and then drive the west bank so that's a nonstarter and that's basically the position of everybody all the way to the left and of the mainstream spectrum they all start from the assumption that peace is
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possible two states are possible if israel. is the settlement blocks that is a nonstarter because of. the settlement blocks there will be no power. so we have to be very careful very wary whenever you hear people talk about. two states but an acceleration of the settlement blocks in the so many blocks are next there are no two states on the other hand i think it's also incorrect to say that the settlements pose an insurmountable obstacle to resolving the problem the palestinians in two thousand and eight did during what were called the post an up listener goshi ations they presented very credible maps which allowed for a two percent land swap between israel and the palestinians it would allow about sixty percent of the sellers to remain in place and that would allow for
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a fully contiguous a fully viable palestinian state but no many is really still wanted and the israelis don't want their that's the whole purpose they don't want that right look we. are point of departure is israel won't accept a reasonable settlement they have to be forced to leave the occupied territories there is no way on god's earth and the last twenty years have shown that there is no way on god's earth that there can be in the goshen. in the absence of israel being forced out of the occupied territories so the fact that israel opposes it is a given that's not something we should be even bothered to we should even bother debating the question is how do you get israel to budge and i think the point that move we know you are both making is you can't get israel to budge through negotiations the
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way you get israel to budge is the same way you got south africa the budge there has to be an international solidarity movement acting in concert with an indigenous resistance movement in the occupied territories and what's crucial it's also critical they have. to be united behind a program that the international community finds credible and the only program right now that the international community finds credible. on the june one thousand nine hundred sixty seven border and not just resolution of the refugee question ok can we talk about the refugee question because it's extremely difficult well as you know. the israel palestine conflict didn't began in one thousand nine hundred sixty seven when i got the patient it began in one nine hundred forty eight with basically the mass expulsion of ninety percent of palestinians who at the time
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lived and what became the state of israel the international consensus on the refugee question again is is quite clear that these refugees have a claim and it's a claim that should be recognized i think the point of departure for any solution of the refugee question consists of two parts first and foremost a clear a can all a judgment of responsibility for the sister oracle and justice by the state of israel and second of all a clear and unambiguous recognition of the rights that these refugees have now. the right of return of refugees has never been dependent on any particular. political solution in other words there is at least theoretically. there is the or the right of return
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operates independently of the territorial disposition on the ground of these real palestine conflict in other words it is as valid on the road to state settlement as it is under a one state settlement in practice of course this is something that. need to be discussed and negotiated between the parties and i think our view is that on the basis of the clear recognition both of the rights of the refugees and perhaps even more importantly of historical injustice and the responsibility for that injustice that meaningful negotiations become possible and there are all kinds of additional mechanisms that one could think of for example an international commission of eminent persons who could who could provide
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a view not only on the refugee question itself but also how it might be resolved first and foremost to the satisfaction of the refugees themselves but also one that would be consistent with durable israeli palestinian peace norm and what to talk about the one state solution because that's also an option out there is being created actually. in the abstract you can talk about what the solution and you can talk about one state you can talk about those states you can talk about the elimination of all borders in the world in one big you know beautiful community in the abstract anything is possible but then you have to introduce a factor called politics and when you introduce the factor called politics then you realize that this notion of one state just evaporates into thin air has no basis whatsoever in reality the fact of the matter is there's no possibility of
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a resolution of the conflict without garnering galvanizing a lot of international support the palestinians can to do it on their own for a very simple reason gauge a mass civil disobedience is will just shoot them down yet we know that that's the way israel. that sid's modus operandi the only factor that can restrain israel is a mobilized international community there's no support in the international community for one state if you go look at the united nations general assembly is there any debate and a discussion on one state is there any legal basis in the international community for one state has no so no public support whatsoever it's simply a fantasy it's a fantasy both of the international level of fantasy on the ground the
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palestinians have been able to wrest. the west bank and gaza from israeli control and israel's rule is. israel is resisting tooth and nail withdrawing from approximately twenty two percent of historic palestine what's the basis for the assumption that israel will relinquish relinquish complete control over the eighty percent of palestine it's had sovereigns sovereign sovereign control over since one thousand nine hundred forty nine that's just sheer silliness the only reason these. speculations now rise of one state it's because nothing is happening if nothing is happening on the ground and of course people will speculate about all sorts of things that are totally disconnected from politics if you take for example the first intifada the first
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into father was significant and to be number one it was a mass all right. we don't have enough time we have no norman my friend we have run out of time many thanks to my guest today in new york and in amman and thanks to our viewers for watching us here at r.t. see you next time and remember cross talk rules. the missing woman. doesn't. you know sometimes you see a story and it seems so for like you think you understand it and then you glimpse something else and you hear or see some other part of it and realize everything you thought you knew you don't know i'm tom harman welcome to the big picture.
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